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Sauk Valley’s fall harvest in full swing; timing is key to yields

Area farmers are getting a head start on harvest season.

A dry summer and dry start to fall has caused several farmers to begin harvesting their crops early and make a lot of progress quickly, said Danelle Burrs, executive director of the Lee County Farm Bureau.

The drought in the area is spotty, however, and the showers that did rain down were sporadic so it has affected farmers differently, Burrs said.

“What I’m hearing, despite the rain of lack thereof, there was enough to keep the crop developing as the summer went on,” she said. “Some farmers are having a good harvest. Some fields are struggling, but some are doing well despite the conditions.”

Matt Lillpop, executive director of the Whiteside County Farm Bureau, said the biggest issue with drought or rain conditions is timing. There can be concern that soy beans or corn crops aren’t getting enough moisture when they need it, but there’s also technology and genetics that make crops pretty resilient.

“Farmers have started a little earlier than usual, so they could be done sooner than usual if there’s nothing to slow down the harvest,” he said.

As with every harvest season, community members should be mindful and patient of slow-moving farm equipment on the roads.

Burrs said she has witnessed several near-accidents with farm equipment, usually when someone is in a hurry. She attributes it to likely being when farm equipment is making a left turn and drivers behind are trying to pass. She suggests people should be patient because the farmer could be turning into a field.

“Passing only when it’s safe is extremely important,” she said.

In Illinois, corn harvested for grain reached 21%, compared to the 5-year average of 18%, and soybeans harvested reached 10%, compared to the 5-year average of 11%, according to the latest crop condition report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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